Personal Guide to Install Solar at Home: Part 1 – System Type
Buying and installing a rooftop solar system needs a lot of planning and preparation. And, if you hire a solar contractor or licensed installer to do the job for you, your informed participation would guarantee that quality panels are installed at a fair price, with the correct device size being selected and positioned in an ideal orientation.
To help you with understanding your rooftop solar installation process in detail, we are launching a blog post series. The series guides you through the site assessment, the energy audit, the design process, the sizing of the device, the deployment, and other phases involved. This blog post is the first of our five-part series – ‘Personal Guide to Install Solar at Home.’
Step 1: Evaluate your Options
Here are some of the factors you will have to consider before you install a rooftop solar system:
The geography of your location and the weather will decide how much sunlight you can get all year round. It would affect the number of solar panels you need. For instance, if you live in a location where trees, tall buildings, or other major barriers are present, the photovoltaic system may not receive enough daylight. The solar panels with battery for home need adequate sunlight every day to provide enough kilowatt-hours and easily meet your residential electricity requirements.
2) Rooftop Condition
If you have a deteriorated roof, the structural foundation of the solar system will be bad. You will not be able to mount photovoltaic panels until you first fix those issues. Repairing the roof is always an easy solution, which shouldn’t cost you a lot.
3) Type of Solar Panel
Choose which type of panel you would be interested in mounting:
Each type has its unique strengths and drawbacks. Based on the factors particular to your site and preferred system features, the solar panel model ideally fit for your installation would vary. The most common solar panels used today in solar roof installations are monocrystalline solar modules. Among homeowners looking to install solar panels on a budget, polycrystalline panels are economical.
Thin-film panels are futuristic and may be applied by an adhesive directly to a surface (roof, boat, or RV). With traditional solar panel systems now competitively priced, a bifacial system offers higher performance and can take up less room. In awnings or pergolas, bifacial solar panels fit well. If the suitable roof space is small, a solar array capable of the power you need can be made a reality by using PERC solar panels.
4) Tilt Angle
The tilt angle is a crucial factor to consider. It is the angle between the horizontal ground and the solar panel. The tilt angle of the solar module can be adjusted as per the latitude of your location. Typically, it is assumed that the panels positioned at a tilt angle equal to the latitude will produce the highest amount of output. You may also use a solar tracker to improve the efficiency of the system.
Listed below are the latitudes of the cities in India:
- Zone 1: J&K, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand: 30-36°
- Zone 2: Rajasthan, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Bihar, North Eastern States: 24-30°
- Zone 3: Gujarat, MP, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa: 18-24°
- Zone 4: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, AP, Telangana, Kerala: 12-18°
If all of this feels too complex for you, don’t fret! HomeScape helps you to assess the right configuration for your solar-powered rooftop and takes care of all the steps for you.
Step 2: Energy Audit and Load Calculation
To find out the load that your solar PV system should cover, perform a load analysis. For instance, your fridge, dryer, television, lamps, microwave, and computers may all be up and running at once, so you’ll need a solar system big enough. Take the battery bank into consideration in case you are planning to install an off-grid system, i.e. solar panel with battery for home. This step helps you to determine how many kilowatt-hours the system needs to produce to meet your energy usage per month.
An intense energy audit requires the following steps:
- Make a list of old appliances and try to replace them with newer, energy-saving ones.
- Check to see which appliances stay on, or in 24/7 standby in your home while not in operation, and start switching them off.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs, if you’ve not already.
- Blinds or thick curtains can be used to prevent harsh exterior temperatures from radiating into the building.
The following steps should help you with the calculation process:
1) Solar System Capacity
How many units of electricity do you consume on an average monthly?
For instance, if you use 1400 kWh per month, let’s say an average of 6 hours of daylight every day, this means that at least every hour you will need 1400/(6 x 30) = 7.7 kW, that is approximately 8-10 kW. If you have an idea about the available space on the roof, you can also try using our Solar Calculator.
The following parameters specify the size of the plant:
- Monthly average Bill peak load in summers and year-round
- Estimated Load
- Area of the rooftop or shade-free space
2) Area Requirement
1 kW requires 10sqm or 100sqft of shade free area. It can be adjusted and installed with existing structures on roofs such as tanks, storerooms and staircases.
3) Payback Period
Did you know that a solar system reduces your electricity bills by up to 90 per cent? Depending on the electricity bills, the payback period is around four to five years. The total number of years in which the original sum of money spent on the device can be recovered from the profit is known as a solar system’s payback period.
For instance, if you have spent Rs 5 Lakhs in a solar system that provides you with annual savings of Rs 1 Lakh, this ensures that your initial investment has been paid back within five years.
In conclusion, the installation of a solar system (either on-grid or solar panels with battery for home) is not very difficult, nor is it incredibly costly. In this article, we covered the initial few steps: factors to consider before installing a solar system, load calculation, as well as performing an energy audit. We hope you found the first part of our blog series useful. Follow us to know more in our upcoming parts of the personal guide blog series.
10 steps to installing solar on your rooftop
If you have been wondering about installing solar panels, then there’s no better time than now to do so. The price of solar panels, and hence solar PV systems has significantly decreased. Getting solar panels for house nowadays is a lot economical and convenient than before.
How can you install a solar plant on your rooftop?
Here are ten simple steps for the installation of a solar photovoltaic system on your rooftop:
1) Evaluate your options
There are a few points to remember and take account of before installing solar panels on homes.
- Do you have space for installing solar panels on your rooftop? How much is it?
- Will the sun shine bright on your space during hours of daylight?
- Is your roof structurally strong enough to support solar panels and their structure weight?
- How much of the area is covered by shade?
- What type of solar panel for the house you would like to install (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin-film, bifacial, PERC)?
2) Load calculation and energy audit
How much energy does your home consume?
Now that you’ve weighed your choices, the next move is to determine how much electricity you would require after installing a solar plant at your home. Calculate the following with the help of our simple DIY calculation guide:
- Solar System Capacity
- Area requirement for Your Solar System
- Payback Period for Your Solar System
Estimate how much electricity the solar panel for house needs to generate with the help of an energy audit. Energy audits, in general, helps you to:
- Reduce your monthly energy bill by doing away with excessive use
- Decide how much solar energy you require
- Meet a crucial condition for some tax credits, rebates, and loans
3) Grid-Connected vs Off-Grid vs Hybrid
A grid-connected system is a type of installation where solar panels are linked to the electrical grid. Solar energy thus produced is used. If your solar plant does not produce enough electricity to satisfy the consumption requirements, the difference will be automatically sourced from the grid. An off-grid system is not linked to the power grid. Hence, battery storage is necessary. A hybrid system integrates solar and battery storage in one, and are now accessible in various setups and forms.
4) Estimate your budget
After calculating and determining what kind of solution suits your optimal rooftop solar design specifications, you can quickly estimate how much the process of installing a solar panel at the house would cost you with the help of solar calculators available on the MNRE website. Make sure to consider maintenance costs, warranty, and the lifetime of the system.
5) Choose your solar developer
Once you have your budget fixed, it is time to identify a trustworthy solar company. We would advise you to do your research for the solar company you want to get a solar plant from because it is a product for a lifetime, and you would not want to run everywhere in case of a breakdown. Do check product warranties. HomeScape by Amplus is a trusted brand from the house of the PETRONAS group brought to you by a creative group of solar designers and experts. HomeScape provides you 25 years performance warranty* along with the product insurance to protect you from any anomaly in the plant in the future.
6) Site Survey
The site survey is required for a solar developer to evaluate:
- Best photovoltaic location
- Obstacles (if any shading)
- Size of the central electrical panel inside the household
- Places suitable for installation of the electrical elements
- State of the Rooftop (structurally sound or not)
- Square footage suitable for positioning module
To assess your home, the executives from a solar company will take a note of the following points:
- Overall roof size
- Slope angle
- Chimney and vents
- Compass orientation of the rooftop slope
- Roof thickness
- Strong trees or other blockages in or around the residential property
7) Receive your proposal
After finishing your site survey and measuring the average kilowatt-hour consumption of the building, you will receive a proposal from your solar company. Evaluate and pick a solar plant that suits your requirements, both technically and economically.
8) Documentation and permits
Like every significant financial move, there is a lot of documentation involved with rooftop solar panels for the house. For on-grid networks, permits are needed, when you would like to opt for net metering or gross metering. Typically, permits differ from state to state and depend on the form and scale of construction of solar panels. HomeScape takes care of all the documentation processes making it hassle-free for customers. Regardless, it is still a smart thing to know and understand what is happening with your solar power plant.
Solar Panels: The solar developer will begin by preparing the rooftop. It would make sure that the panels are fixed correctly. Electrical Wiring: The solar company then installs electrical wiring, which would connect to your electrical panel and main power system.
10) Warranty and maintenance
Generally, solar plant for houses come with a twenty-five years warranty. The company would offer ten years for 90 percent and the following fifteen years for 80 percent performance. The inverters usually come with a five-year warranty which can be extended by AMC, if required.
our solar plant does not require that much upkeep but taking care of a few aspects is necessary. Cleaning the photovoltaic panels is crucial for an efficient generation. Periodic cleaning of the modules (once in fifteen days) with wet cloth or wiper stick is sufficient for the best performance of the system. In conclusion, when you are familiar with the steps of installing a solar photovoltaic system, the whole process becomes much easier. The installation of the solar panels for houses is not very difficult, nor is it incredibly costly.
How To Measure Electricity Savings Using Solar Calculator
As electricity prices continue to rise, and awareness about climate change increases, there is a significant number of people looking to make the switch to renewable resources of electricity, that also increases their overall savings. One of the more practical approaches to these concerns has been the use of solar energy for home, an option the Indian climate is ideal for. With the advent of newer technologies that involve the use of solar panels, you no longer have to rely on clear sunny skies. Solar panels for homes now capture heat and convert the same into electric power.
There have been numerous government initiatives to encourage the transition to solar energy. For example, in Tamil Nadu, the government offers solar panels in home at subsidised rates, which reduces the initial investment that goes into installing solar panels on roof. Once a household has used the amount of electricity it requires for its needs; the excess energy will transfer back to the electric grid, for which they will be compensated. With schemes like these, it is truly a win-win situation for both the consumer and the government.
Making the switch to solar energy
To help you decide on whether you want to take the plunge into solar energy, you can use a solar calculator to measure your electricity savings. The state-run Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides a solar calculator that residential consumers can use. The calculator works in a simple manner. You can calculate your savings based on the area of the rooftop you currently have or the solar panel capacity you want to install. Here are a couple of options as to how you can get an estimate of savings based on your budget:
Based on your rooftop area
Under this option, the solar calculator prompts you to enter the area you have in square meters or square feet. You can then specify how much of that area is available for the installation of solar panels. Select which state you live in and the residential option. The calculator will automatically input the cost of electricity; this is customisable, and you can change this number. The calculator then calculates how much solar energy you will be able to generate per month, the total cost for installing the solar plant along with the subsidised rate, and your savings per month, year, and also for a lifetime.
Based on the solar panel capacity
The second option you have is to calculate your savings based on the solar panel capacity. On your electricity bill, you can find how much electric energy your house consumes per month. After you input this value, the calculator will then display the estimated investment you will have to make to reach your goal, and the savings you will make with a solar plant of your desired size.
Based on your budget
The last option is based on your budget. Enter your budget amount into the specified field and then select which state you reside in. The calculator will show you how much electricity the system will generate and the amount you save.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy also allows you to apply for solar photovoltaic installation which will be connected to the grid. This gives you the opportunity to help reduce your carbon footprint along with helping you save more on electricity. The ministry has an installation application form that has to be approved before making an installation. In this application form, you will have to specify the category you want to use solar energy for. Once you choose domestic, you will have to provide your details, including your address, and contact information. You will also have to specify the size of the power plant suitable for your building using their solar calculator. Consumers are given a choice between three business models to choose from, for their Solar Voltaic (SV) installation, mentioned below:
- CAPEX- Here the consumer pays for the SV installation entirely upfront. This system is ideal for industries and commercial usage and can be used to calm tax benefits.
- RESCO- Under this model, a third party invests in the installation of the SV system. The consumer does not have to invest anything. The investor and the consumer come to an agreement on the tariff for the power generated, which will span over a timeline between 15-25 years.
- Rooftop Renting- This option allows you to lease your rooftops to generate an additional source of income.
You can choose who you would like to install the SV system. This includes State Nodal Agencies, the Solar Corporation of India, which is run by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, government agencies, and channel partners. You could also create your own tender and give the job to someone you pick. The last step is to submit your form, after which you will receive updates via email or phone about a solar system that will suit your needs and financial ability.